Racial abuse made me hot under the collar
After spending the majority of the year willing it to stop raining, we are finally being bathed in sizzling sunshine.
While the sunny weather lights up most of us with a positive outlook, for others as the temperature cranks up, so does their crankiness.
We’re a nation who are incredibly hard to please and it seems some people are never happy with cries of: “It’s too hot!”
In our office, there’s been a mini mutiny with people getting hot and bothered over open windows vs air conditioning.
While some have welcomed the icy blast of air conditioning, others have sat there shivering complaining about goosebumps.
Hot weather makes some people increasingly hot tempered, particularly if the sweltering heat has left them sleep deprived.
Some become grouchy and grumpy at being cooped up inside when they’d sooner be soaking up the rays in a beer garden.
Although some people simply become a touch more crabby and cantankerous in the heat, others become overheated with anger and aggression.
It’s not just ice cream consumption that goes up when it’s hot and humid outside but crime rates with a rise in assaults, violence and burglaries.
Summer brings out the worst in some people and doesn’t just make them a bit frazzled but seems to fry their brains.
Take a look back in history and it seems rioting is rampant when the weather is warm.
The Brixton riots began during a warm April in 1981 as tensions spilled over while the Toxteth riots started at the height of summer in early July of that same year.
Even this week, a water fight in Hyde Park spiralled into violence with three people, including a police officer, being stabbed.
Even Shakespeare alluded to tempers flaring during hot weather in Romeo and Juliet: “For now these hot days is the mad blood stirring.”
For me, sunshine and heat has the opposite effect; it makes me feel happy and optimistic.
While none of us like feeling sweaty, sticky or uncomfortable, there is nothing more glorious than basking in the sun sipping a deliciously cold drink.
However, despite the blistering hot weather, my usually sunny disposition came under a cloud this week as it seems the sun also unearths obnoxious people.
On the hottest day of the year, an odious and impatient female motorist almost forced me off the road by swerving to dangerously overtake me in a queue.
When I honked my horn in protest, she had the temerity to hurl foul abuse at me culminating in calling me a “F****** P***” and telling me to “Go back where I came from.”
Quite where she wanted me to go, I’m not sure. Back to the office? Or maybe she wanted me to head to Hertfordshire?
While I’m pretty resilient, the incident left me shaken with a bitter hollow taste in my mouth. I’m loathe to use the word “luckily” as it isn’t luck, but the way things should be, but racism has rarely reared its ugly head in my life.
Apart from once living near a racist family who resolutely blanked me every time I smiled or said: “Good Morning”, I’ve been unscathed by any such tirade for the last 30-something years.
Yet in the same week former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie sparked controversy by questioning whether a headscarf-wearing newsreader should be reporting on the Nice atrocities, I suffered my first real incident of racial abuse.
Sadly it seems post-Brexit Britain has given some elements of society the courage to spout their vile views.
Thankfully, the vast majority of people are lovely – something I discovered when colleagues and friends reacted indignantly to what happened.
“Did I cry?” asked one concerned friend. No, I wouldn’t give such scum the satisfaction.
But like most things in life, it’s kindness not cruelty that get the tears pricking.
And I almost cried when one of my bosses bought me a gingerbread man to cheer me up.
I munched it in the glorious sunshine and suddenly it felt like all was right with my world once again.